8695/GIRL Expo: Day 1

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GIRL Expo: Day 1
Date of Scene: 16 November 2021
Location: Pym Technologies, Bludhaven
Synopsis: Day 1 of the GIRL Expo goes quite well! The universe is not destroyed.
Cast of Characters: Nadia Pym-van Dyne, Helena Shepherd, Madigan Belle, Tim Drake, Janet van Dyne, Natasha Romanoff, Susan Richards, Keli Quintela, Lonnie Machin, Valeria Richards, Reed Richards, Bobbi Morse

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
After a year and a half of SCIENCE! adventures and months of months of planning, the day has finally arrived! Day 1 of the G.I.R.L. (Genius In action Research Laboratories) Expo is finally kicking off and it is kicking off with a bang.

While the facilities of GIRL's own building on the Pym Technologies campus are impressive, for this event the 'Great Hall' has been commandeered and redecorated specifically to host the opening night Gala. Before any of the actual achievements are shown off, it is a chance to invite in all of the government officials that regularly get asked to look the other way due to GIRL's shenanigans and who also might want to try and lisense some of their innovations, as well as business interests that might be interested in the same, and other SCIENCE! luminaries just interested in what the kids have been up to. For the Super Science Parents group, it's almost like a party before school science fair day.

The hall has been done up in the pinks and purples that are GIRL's trademark colors, with a giant banner of the GIRL logo hanging over the event. Buffet tables are piled with very expensive and also delicious looking food of all sorts to suit just about any pallet. Unless you want cheap processed food, then you're probably out of luck and Janet's catering team may fight you to the death.

Tables for sitting and chatting also abound as servers carry trays of h'or d'ourves and champagne flutes distributing them among the arriving guests. It is a party worthy of a MET Gala but FOR SCIENCE!!!

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    When Dr. Helena Shepherd makes her way onto the scene, she has her hands in the pockets of her slightly shabby white lab coat. The top knot of her hair looks a little frizzy and is held in place by a pair of pencils. She has dark circles under her eyes, doing nothing for her sex appeal but certainly selling the working woman who forgets to eat and sleep aesthetic. She does head over to the catering table, push her glasses up with a serious case of four eyes zero soul as the light opaques the lenses, and seems to hesitate for a moment before stepping away from the spread without taking any. So, despite her slightly unkempt appearance, she is not simply a hungry homeless person who wandered in. Maybe she wanted some of those nonexistent cheap processed foods.

Madigan Belle has posed:
"Oh, hello, out of the way, please, thank you. Dire emergency. Big big emergency." One leg swings because of Madi's over exaggerated hip movements, then another one, as her leg braces lock in place, her crutch aiding in her balance. She's all done up in a red/dark pink dress, along with a lot of red and pink tones for her makeup and then... of course, there's the burnt sienna hair but an absence of her characteristic glasses. "Whoa, hold on, was that... oh who cares?" She smiles big as a person is walking past with some food on their plate, and she waves that waiter down. "I don't think I'll make it to the buffet. Thanks." And she stands there, starting to eat food, and crunching down on whatever it is, taking quite a few that she pushes into her mouth even while chewing the last.

Once that's done, she takes a small stack of 3 for the road and starts managing her way back in the direction of the buffet. "Whew. I thought all the food would be gone before I got here." Just speaking aloud as she goes, not really looking around on her way and coming up next to Helena at the very least. "Whoa, uh... you should really do your hair. You look like a slob." Just blurting it out...

Tim Drake has posed:
    Here just as much to officially represent Wayne Enterprises as he is to nerd out about science, Tim is dressed more to fit in as the former rather than the later. The lines of his suit slim his figure somewhat, and despite what is likely a five-digit pricetag attached to its bespoke tailoring, it's not a particularly flashy thing. Just blacks and greys, though the pink and purple paisley of his tie is a subtle show of support for GIRL.

    It's probably only Nadia herself who will know the depths of Tim's actual interest and knowledge in the technological advancements to be shown off tonight. He's milling about, doing the typical rubbing elbows business one is obligated to do at these sorts of things, a notable figure given his last name but one that is remaining in the background at the moment.

    Don't worry, it's just sparkling apple juice in his champagne flute.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
Janet's a little occupied handling some of the behind-the-scene stuff. This is Nadia's big night; it's her people, her friends, their collective work, and the bursting excitement on Nadia's face for the last week has guaranteed Janet wouldn't risk upstaging the Waspette in the slightest.

Which is not to say she's not *doing* things-- mostly dealing with catering, the event staff, and gladhandling a few special invitees and influencers so Nadia doesn't have to break her focus.

"Senator, so glad you're here," she says, oozing that effortless social grace. Hugs, cheek-kiss, handshakes, pleasant chatter, and she moves on again. Janet's outfit is a dress in an eye-searing shade of hazard yellow piped and hemmed in black silk threat. The herringbone corset supports a wide Queen Anne neckline that borders on a halter strap; it loops once over her upper back and climbs up behind her neck in a ruffled white fan that frames her face and the elegant curve of her neck, leaving her shoulders and arms bare. It's joined to a bustle and a panel skirt that splits near her mid-thigh with each step she takes. Gossamer fabric in progressively paler shades peeks out with each step she takes in a pair of platform heels that perfectly match the yellow of the dress. The combination of bustle and skirting makes her dress look like a wasp in flight with each confident stride she takes. Copper and brass jewelry adorned with rubies adds a sparkling extra layer of color to the outfit.

She glances at a wall clock, downs her martini, and heads towards the stage area and the curtain covering it. She ducks backstage and bypasses the style team who are hunkered down there in case of fashion emergencies, making a ... well, a beeline, for Nadia.

"It's that time, kiddo," she tells her daughter, and fusses at Nadia's hair with a reflexive mothering. "You ready to get out there? Your public awaits your big speech."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha Romanoff, historically, doesn't deal in pride if she can help. She's yet to get invested in anything that didn't eventually bite her. Granted she's currently involved in multiple things that haven't, having given them several years to take the opportunity; but from her perspective that just means it hasn't happened *yet*.

But, despite being anathema to good cheer - even if she can fake it really super well - Natasha's tempted to be a bit proud of Nadia's work. Not JUST Nadia's work, of course, but Nadia's the one she's... well... invested in.

Natasha's dressed to roam the grounds if need be, with a friendly smile, her vibrant red hair done up all pretty, with a tastfully sparkly black dress under a cropped black jacket, high heeled shoes, and a bracelet which definitely isn't a comlink to security that she discreetly talks to every few minutes.

At all.

"If you're nervous," Natasha adds after Janet speaks, approaching with a tasteful amount of warning - for her - "just remember that most of them don't have any good ideas." She looks to Janet, then, and smiles, "Janet. Good to see you." She greets. She's been a relatively rare sight since that whole thing where she... turned... traitor? But then didn't? And then there were clones? It was all kind of a mess.

Helena Shepherd has posed:
     "Gee, thanks," responds Helena with a voice that creaks slightly. If you really tried you could call it a sotto contralto rather than a voice that sees so little use the user forgot how it works. "It's out of my face, and out of the the eyepiece for the microscope, it's good enough for government work," she continues as she looks out over the crowd and frowns just slightly. It... doesn't make her look all that attractive, frown marks rarely do, though the woman is clearly niether young nor old.

Susan Richards has posed:
Sue shows up a touch early, not terribly early, but early enough to do a bit of fussing and concerned Mother Hen tutting before things get into the swing. Before she has to put on her game face and live up to the stylish attire she's bedecked in for t he evening. Where Janet's gone for eye-catching and effortless grace and style, Sue's more understated with just a _dash_ of daring courtesy of an earlier trip to her stylish friend.

And as the gala begins proper, she's in the whirl of meeting, greeting, and talking up GIRL and its members to the various titans of industry and science who might need convincing. The understated grey fabric of her dress offsets a rather daring semi-backless design, and the shimmering circular symbol upon her chest, highlighting a rather daring cutout of a '4'. Because Susan really couldn't say no to Janet, or being at least a _little_ unrestrained for a gala event. The dark stiletto heels, midnight black that match the slim satin fabric around her throat holding a shining diamond? Just a final touch of opulance. One has to earn the title of 'gala' after all, otherwise it's just a reception.

Sue's eyes dart about as she wanders towards Nadia, Janet, and Natasha. She offers the youngest of the trio a reassuring grin and murmurs out, "Also, if you're worried, consider that if anyone were to invent reliable, cost-effective time travel, it would likely be one of you fine young women... and since a futuristic version of yourself hasn't shown up to alert you to anything, things are well under control."

Madigan Belle has posed:
To Helena, Madigan's eyes get kind of big, "Thanks? Why would you thank me? Oh! Were you unaware maybe of just how -bad- your hair is right now? Frizzy to the tip. You could spray water on it, maybe that would help?" Questions Madigan, immediately looking around after her quick aloud wonderings, in between she's eating whatever she had grabbed earlier. Then there's a pause, with food in her mouth, she's trying hard not to grin big while she asks in as bright of a muffled voice as she can, "Sumshing gohtsh yoush dohnwn?" She questions and then chews some more, until she swallows, "Do you know any of these people? What about that person? He looks like some kind of guy they'd put on Time magazine's cover with, Sexiest Man 2 years running. You know, not quite a 3 year runner, but definitely 2." She's pointing at Tim Drake, "What about that person, do you know them?" A pause, finger gunning in the direction of yet another person, "Who's that? They look kind of important." Poor Helena has attracted the quick constant stream of words from Madigan Belle.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli packed /one/ dress because she only owns one dress, but it's nice enough, deep bronze with a flower pattern on the bodice, calf-length, and her curly, kinky hair is held back from her face by a matching headband. She looks like she could belong here, she's in the right age group, though she's not /technically/ part of GIRL. Maybe someone has some idea who she is? Maybe.

    She makes her way to the catering table and starts making herself a plate of food while eyeing Helena and Madigan both. Maybe afraid they'll call her out. She has about a dozen people she /really/ wants to talk to, once she can muster up the courage and the right words, but that can wait. Food for fuel first.

Helena Shepherd has posed:
     Turning to face Madigan, blinking at her under the onslaught, Helena takes a moment to remove her glasses and clean them on a cloth from her pocket before replacing them. The thick, black-rimmed, glasses are commonly called 'birth-control' glasses in the military for a reason. Despite the cliche' nature of the trope, she really DOES look far better without them but it's not because she wouldn't look good with glasses in general.
    "Sarcasm," she responds slowly, almost as though speaking to a child. She is coming back to the first question, the one that opened the floodgates. "I was being sarcastic. 'Gee thanks'. Yes, I know tone is important in these things, but I didn't think I was quite so lacking as to botch getting it across. I basically know no one here. As you even you can likely imagine... " she tips her glasses up on the bridge of her nose, "I don't really do... people."

Tim Drake has posed:
    With the sort of social sixth sense that tells him he's being talked about, Tim glances over towards the general area of the buffet tables, which he hasn't availed himself of just yet. Someone keeps providing him the platter of alcohol-free champagne flutes, and honestly that's enough for him. Too much, really. Juice is awfully sweet for his palate.

    As it so happens, though, Tim has not been on the cover of Time Magazine. Not even once, no less for two or three years running. As he passes Madigan and Helena by, he subtly tilts his head to drop a few more eaves in their direction, though ultimately he's actually at the catering table to look over Keli's shoulder. "Word to the wise, make sure you eat the puff pastry in one bite," he says as he glances at her plate. "Otherwise the crumbs get everywhere."

    And with that, he scans the crowd, eyes narrowed as he looks for someone in particular. Though whoever Tim's looking for, he doesn't find, so he hovers by Keli's side casually. "Are you looking to get some face-time with GIRL's founder, Ms. Quintela?" he asks, just before taking a sip of juice that barely even wets his tongue. Ugh. So sweet!

    Though any plans he might have had about poking his way into the backstage area to find Nadia is promptly forgotten as he spots Lonnie making his way over. His chin lifts slightly in greeting, and he only looks mildly relieved to find his Plus-One arriving without causing a scene. He does however immediately gather up a quick selection of food onto a plate that he offers up for Lonnie. It's like they say: the quickest way to an anarchist's heart is through their stomach.

    That he's plucked up the vegetarian selection just means Tim gets to steal some for himself later.

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia has been buzzing about here, there, and everywhere, like well a very busy bee. She is dressed very similarly to Janet in another Van Dyne original wasp dress created specifically for this gala. But unlike Janet's hazard yellow, true to the color coding of their super suits, Nadia's dress is a deep crimson red with black stitching and accents.

The Waspette jumps to her feet and gives Janet a hug, almost as if to channel some of the excess excited energy into her. "I'm ready!" She almost vibrates in place with excitement. "This is it! This is what we've been working towards, I almost can't believe we're finally showing off some of our new innovations!"

From the hugging position, she grins over Janet's shoulder at Natasha and Susan, the remaining members of GIRL's 'Mom Squad' as it were. "Thanks!" She says, releasing Janet from the hug, "I think I've got this, ...oooh time travel!" There is momentary distraction before that idea is filed away for later.

Striding out from behind the curtains and on to the stage comes Nadia. "Testing, is thing on?" She taps the mic. "Hello everyone! Thank you for coming! Welcome to the first GIRL Expo! Hopefully the first of many to come! So much has happened in the last year and a half since Dr. Morse put the idea in my head about how the current rankings of the world's smartest people couldn't possibly be right. Not that rankings really matter, but the first woman on the list before Lunella Lafayette unended things only placing at number twenty seven was a sign of much bigger problems in STEM. There are many great men in science like my dad or Dr. Banner or Dr. Richards, but there should be many great women too. We need more luminaries like Dr. Susan Storm, too often female talent in STEM gets overlooked and brushed aside. GIRL set out to change all of that, to nurture a new generation of brilliant female scientists, to give them every opportunity, and to change the world. A year and a half later, here we are at the opening gala to the first taste of that change, a celebration of all the friends we made along the way and the results of everyone's efforts together."

A champagne flute is brought to her, it's probably sparkling cider right? "So, a toast to SCIENCE! and a brighter future in STEM for GIRLs everywhere!"

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli grins at Tim, and as she notices Lonnie coming over, waves in his direction. "Thanks for the tip! And yeah, /absolutely/. She's /brilliant/, you know. Her work with Pym particles is just... it's /amazing/. I'd say I want to be like her when I grow up but I think she's only a couple years older than I am."

    She's cut off by Nadia coming up to the mic, but she absolutely doesn't mind. She grabs one of the champagne flutes full of sparkling cider to lift a toast. "Salud! To science!" And then she drinks down the /entire/ glass in one gulp.

Madigan Belle has posed:
There's a pause talking to Helena, as Madigan has grabbed a plate, while asking about people, put some nearby food on it, some kind of dip on that, and then is eating it. Surprisingly, perhaps, not making any kind of mess. "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." Another pause, and she offers a big grin, "Well, that was excellent sarcasm. I mean, I didn't even get it, maybe I did, I don't really pay much attention to what other people are saying all the time. It's like, way way way way way way way way too slow, sometimes, you know. Just, like, a word here or there, it's all kinds silly, ridiculous, bontastically, wonderful, amazing..." She stops, quirks her mouth to the side, looks up and to the corner toward the ceiling, "What was I talking about? Oh, right! Food. This stuff is pretty good. And free! I mean, it isn't like people can't afford food, amiright?" She snort laughs a little, shaking her head some at the very idea!

Shuffling, a few steps, she does her most inconspicuous lean as her eyes go back and forth, like she's not listening to the conversation Tim is having with Keli. Then she blurts out, "Yes, it's on!" to the question about the Mic up to Nadia, and then takes a moment to clap, throw her hands into the air, "Yeah! Expo!" Then she stops, looks around, and leans back a touch, with her lips pursed and glancing around to see if anyone noticed her shouting... she manages to hold on till the end of STEM for GIRLs Everywhere, it is physically tough. She's twisting, while standing, scrunching her face hard, furrowing her brow, and then she can't hold back another cheer, "Woo, we go GIRL!" And then chuckles a bit, snorting loudly, once, and looking around for something to drink.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha's pleasant expression doesn't change, but she does say, quickly and flatly "Please don't time travel."

She gestures with both arms towards the curtain before Nadia leaves, and smiles. She sighs softly. "Snipers on point, eyes open until Busy Bee's back in the Hive, thank you." she says very softly into her bracelet, then resumes smiling, giving polite light applause when Nadia raises a toast.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie is ostensibly here as free press. He runs a very popular Zine! Among his many other activities. Where did he get that press pass? Sorry he's already moved on! He's even wearing a suit, slim and gray and in a European cut almost certainly picked out by Tim, and he looks almost scholarly, with his red hair up and his glasses on. He approaches Tim, and looks down at the offerings on it, before he plucks up a stuffed mushroom and tosses it up into the air, before he catches it in his mouth, chews, and swallows.
    "Signs of social progress," He says, looking around. "Technocracy is for everyone. *Hooray*. Still, there are a lot of important scientific advancements happening in this room, over dinner. That's a good thing." He nudges Tim with his elbow. "Having fun? I know I am."

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    "Hmm," responds Helena to Madigan, the faintest shadow of a smile drifting over her lips for the first time, "I think you might want to consider cutting back on the sugar tonight. You already seem so hyper you might have an aneurysm." She looks over as Tim swings by and nods to the man. If she recognizes him is anyone's guess. If she has ever seen the cover of a Time Magazine is as well, after all it wouldn't exactly be under a microscope.
    "Nice speech. Very... sentimental. Well. We all hope for a better world," she says.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
The applause is long and loud, and Janet waits in the wings with the rest of the 'squad', hands steepled nervously in front of a beaming smile of approval. Her applause is as enthusiastic as anyone else's and she squeezes Nadia in a fiercely devoted hug when the Waspette steps off the stage.

"You have gotten SO much better at speeches," she tells Nadia. "That was perfect. Short, passionate, and short. Do that every time," she advises her.

Janet exhales a last held mote of tense breath and the tension slips out of her clenched neck and shoulders. "All right! So what's next honey?" she inquires of Nadia, and slips an arm over the Waspette's shoulders encouragingly. "Anyone we need to gladhandle? Impress? I am pretty sure I see one of the Wayne boys down there," Janet says. "And I'm pretty sure ~he's single~," she says with a pointed hipcheck. "You're New England royalty now, hon, you need to go play the part."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
"Good job, Malyshka." Nat says fondly, leaving her praise short and simple. If she was playing a mom, she'd gush. Since she's only required to be her, things stay simple and neat. Though she does comment. "I don't know if you want to be Gotham Royalty. They're basically the break-in capital of America, at this point. Plus..." She peers past the curtain and eyes Tim for a long moment. "... Mn. Nevermind." None of her business!

Madigan Belle has posed:
The applause starts happening, and Madi looks down to her hands, and one has a plate, the other has her crutch, so she just shrugs a little, smiling big. "Sugar?" That's what draws her attention back to Helena, "I am -not- on sugar..." A snicker comes along with the shaking of her head, "I mean, I -am- on sugar." She offers, and quirks her mouth, "But this isn't a sugar high, this is me. I just love living life, is all, it's great. You know. Like, otherwise, I'd be dead. And that's lame-o. With a big O, although that's a pretty entertaining anime, the mecha in it isn't very practical. Though I like how it's all noir."

Then Lonnie comes toward the table and she waves to the newly arriving person to the table of food, "MC1R represent." She sets her plate down, puts her hand into a fist and pushes it in the direction of Lonnie, "Science is always happening, especially with regards to dinner. I mean, just think of all the molecules being broken down and re-arranged?" She points backwards, with a thumb over her shoulder, toward Helena, "And not all of it is lab coat wearing antics. I dunno about you all, but, I'd really like a cake right about now." She's looking around for a waiter-type person, did she say A Cake? Like a whole cake?

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    "Leaving aside the high on life commentary," begins Helena as she tucks a stray lock of frizzy hair behind one ear, "You're not wrong. WE are science. Amino acids from cells that were once single celled oganisms working together in a multi-cellular organism. Even the bacteria in your gut that helps you digest that food is science. Though it all looks a bit rich for my blood."
    Sighing, she smooths out her lab coat and responds, "Lab coats are practical. Perhaps they are not for everyone. But I would feel naked without mine, thank you very much."

Tim Drake has posed:
    Tim shifts his cider-containing champagne flute into his thumb and forefinger so that he can applaud Nadia's opening statement for the Gala and the Expo as a whole. "She is," Tim says, agreeing with Keli on her gushing praise of Nadia, and in a fit of pique he does the same as her: downs the rest of his cider.

    Which is a mistake. SO sweet.

    He clears his throat a little bit and manages to get his hands on a glass of water. Boring, boring water. Which is what he's sipping when Lonnie makes it over, and Tim lifts his hand to gesture at Lonnie's mushroom consumption. "One bite," he says, demonstratively. Then he levels a flat look at Lonnie, but his expression breaks soon after. "I am. It's good to see all of Nadia's hard work paying off."

    He does another one of those sly glances across the room, the kind that anyone who is used to having to navigate these sorts of things will have down pat. "Yeah. It's a good turn out," is his determination, after. Then he swipes a mushroom off of Lonnie's plate. Yoink.

Susan Richards has posed:
Sue watches the speech in its entirety, and can't resist joining in the applause and beaming proudly for Nadia's presentation. Her only regret being that she's _so_ swept up in it that she hasn't got the presence of mind to needle Janet about her clear nervousness.

She applauds even more when Nadia returns and nods, "Oh, the speeches? Definitely the hardest part of... well, anything related to speeches. But they get _easier_... also, you know, you can hire publicists and the like to write most of them for you. Or just... rewrite the details and use the same framework all the time."

She clears her throat demurely. Of course Mrs. Richards doesn't do that. No no. But she might have a virtual intelligence to 'help' with the speech writing. Because she's so busy.

Still, once the introductory speech is done, Susan has a glass of champagne floating her way, even if it _does_ take a few daring little dips and dives through the room to reach her. What's the fun in keeping your powers practiced if you can't show off a little?

She sips th e flute of champagne and eyes Janet, one eyebrow perking, "Dear, she just gave a very nice speech and is probably still at least seventy percent butterflies... surely she can wait a _minute_ before introducing herself to the most eligible bachelor she can find. ...After all, the expo's more than one night! There's no _great_ rush."

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia smiles brightly at Natasha. "Thanks Nat!" Natasha gets hugged, that is just a fact of life with Nadia. She laughs a little at Janet's talk of various royalties, still generally more interested in Quantum Physics than romance.

Glancing out from the curtains at Tim who she /definitely/ doesn't already know, wherever would you get that idea?! So silly! She looks back at Janet and nods her head a few times. "Yeah, I should probably go introduce myself... mingling is fun! So many new people to meet and that food looks amazing." She is not passing up the food, not in this lifetime.

Sue gets a curious look when she mentions publicists. "Wait people do that? I just say what I am thinking." It is like she has never even considered the idea of having someone else write up things she would say before. "Anyway, to the mingling!"
And with that she descends the short set of stairs and emerges from one of the side doors into the Gala proper snagging a flute and some snacks from the passing waiters as she goes. "Party time!"

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie watches Tim steal off his plate, and he gives a long-suffering sigh. He endures in silence, sipping his own glass of cider. "The spinach puffs are excellent, you should try one of those." He continues making notes on his phone, detailing who's here, and the snips of conversation he's overheard.
    "You're being a good friend. I'm still not sure why you invited me as your plus one, though. Janet van Dyne just looked at you, I wonder why. Oh hey, there's Elon Musk." He starts to get up, "I'm going to ask him how the family Emerald business is going."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha smiles warmly and gives Nadia a bit of a squeeze. If she can convince the worst people in the world she's hopelessly in love with them, she can give a nice kid a hug without squirming. In regards to 'just saying what she thinks, though, Natasha just... gives a little sigh. She's still working on that one.

Madigan Belle has posed:
Madi may not be facing Helena, but she's still quite audible, "High on life, is the best kind of life." Madigan says, to Helena, over her own shoulder. "Gotta power the ol' brain, with sugar. And other staples, of course. But... primarily sugar. It's the ambrosia of modern day eating." Though her hand is still out, fist toward Lonnie for any sort of fist bumping, she starts to look around in a much more urgent manner. "Cake cake cake." She says to herself a few times, then puts down her fist and smacks her lips together repeatedly making a bpbpbpbpbp type sound. "Ah hah!" She points, "Cake." And she starts heading in the direction of a cake she saw get wheeled through a corner and into the back. Perhaps to finish getting dressed up before being brought out. "Alright, miss frizzy hair, it was nice meeting you. Buh bye now, I'll be... uh, important business in the back. In case anyone is looking for me. I'm counting on you!" She smiles and is a woman on a mission, albeit a slow shuffling mission, as she swings her legs about, to let those leg braces lock in place, before doing it to the other one. Moving smoothly, from great practice, but slower than regular walking.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli just shakes her head--Elon Musk, enh. What's he done? Gone to space, whatever. There's /cool/ stuff to talk about. So she fills her mouth with puff pastry--in one bite, see!--and then looks around the room. She's /technically/ not supposed to be her--or so she thinks--so she figures she'd best get this over with. "Aha! There she is. Wish me luck!"

    With that, she starts moving across the room, angling her way toward Nadia. She's going to do this, right now, while she's got all that cider sugar in her and before the GIRL founder gets caught up in talking to billionaires who /aren't/ fun people like Tim.

Valeria Richards has posed:
Fashionably late is definitely a real thing. The best part about fashionably late is that if you do it right, nobody asks what was keeping you, so you don't have to explain to anyone about your failed attempt at cleaning up the river with some repurposed vintage Fantastic Four relics.

Valeria is indeed late, but she's at least gotten the fashionable part down as well, in a dark green silk dress with a little bit of a vintage flair, square-necked and full-skirted to mid-calf. She even took a second to sweep her hair up into a twist.

As she enters, she pushes up onto her toes (necessary since she skipped the heels in favor of black converse sneakers) and takes a quick look around, searching out familiar faces.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
The floating champagne glass has a very confused waiter chasing it; Janet curls her finger at him, relieves him of his last flute, and passes it to Natasha as Nadia darts off into the crowd!

It just leaves the three older women on the stage for a few beats, and Janet puts her glass out in front of her where Sue and Natasha can at least join her for a notional toast.

"Here's to childrearing," she suggests with a smile. Natasha's flickering, forlorn expression isn't missed, and she gives Natasha a very gentle but comforting hug. "You're pretty good at this My Two Moms thing," she tells Natasha with a playful smile. "We're just a comedic neighbor shy of being a sitcom couple," she points out. "Let's go to IKEA this week and get in a fight over saltshakers. Really lean into the whole experience," she suggests while jostling Natasha with a fast-growing grin.

Helena Shepherd has posed:
     "Yeah, yeah," responds Helena, still slightly smiling in spite of herself, "See you later Pinky Pie. Maybe you can show me your party canon next time." She looks back over at the table of food, murmuring "Where's the cheese whiz and soda crackers." Elon Musk is ignored. She probably has her reasons. For all that her clothing stands out, Helena manages... well, not to. It's a matter of looking like you belong, a certain sense of confidence. She's not the most emotive or talkative but she has an unerring sense of 'I belong here'.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Tim just about chokes on his water when Lonnie announces his intentions. "Nope," is all he says, hooking an arm around his Plus One's and steering him *away*. "Don't ask that in earshot of Janet van Dyne," is all he says to Helena, regarding her Cheez Wiz wishes and Soda Cracker dreams.

    "Good luck!" he calls out to Keli, and then pointedly goes in the direct opposite end of the room. If Lonnie starts trouble, inevitably that means Tim will have to finish the trouble, and he doesn't want to talk to Elon Musk, okay? Plus that haircut is atrocious. Eugh. Though Tim is purposefully angling them around to where he thinks he spotted a few of the Richards. Much more palatable, those folks.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha smirks a bit and raises her glass to Janet's proposed toast - the first of many, she assumes, as long as the glasses keep coming - and takes a drink against her better judgement, taking Janet's hug with similar grace.

She does, however, indulge in a soft groan as Janet rocks her back and forth, sighing, "The worst part about being an effective spy..." she takes another sip from her glass, "... is that I have to get that reference."

That said, she is smiling a bit at the 'two moms' thing. It may not be accurate, in her estimation, but... it's sweet. The Red Room made sure to take Motherhood out of her ability to consider, barring a medical miracle - which, given its increasing liklihood of occuring, she would then have to decide whether to turn down - and the only man she ever would have considered such a thing with - silly young girl that she was - has been gone for longer than he was ever alive.

This is what it's like to be Natasha Romanoff at a fun party.

Natasha smiles and says, "... You're doing pretty well too, Janet." Not that Natasha doesn't have... concerns... but pretty good, altogether!

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards yawns as he enters still attired in the epononymous blue jump suit and lab coat. He is late, like daughter like father as the saying goes. He glances around the party, snagging a shrimp puff as he goes. He nods to the few he knows and avoids Bezos and Elon like the plague.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    "Sorry Tim," Lonnie says, as Tim grabs him to steer him away, "But I'm just not the kind of mangy street animal you can tame!" He sees himself being steered in the direction of the Richardses, and he squeezes his mouth shut. Possibly not the sort of people you should be introducing an anarchist to, even one as well-read as he is-
    "Oh hey, crab puffs. I'm just going-" He tries to pull. "No? Okay."

Valeria Richards has posed:
The problem with running to a party directly from a job is that you realize at some point on the way that you forgot to eat lunch. And breakfast. So when a tray of tiny pastry-wrapped hot dogs goes by Valeria, she waylays the server in charge of handing them out to just...claim the tray.

In her defense, it's only about a quarter full.

"Hey, Tim!" she waves over before she's busy holding the tray in one hand and eating tiny hot dogs with the other. The cover the fact that she has a whole try, she does turn to offer at least one to Reed. She's not the only one who forgets to eat.

Helena Shepherd has posed:
"Hmm, crab puffs?" says Helena thoughtfully, "I didn't see those. Those will do." She looks around the crowd, watching Tim and Lonnie heading towards the patriarch of the Fantastic Four. Her lips purse, but whatever mad scientist idea came to mind she discards it. "Right then," she says "Crab puffs. Close enough to cheeze whiz and soda crackers." With that, she steps up to the refreshments and takes a few at last.

Susan Richards has posed:
Sue grins and lifts her glass to join Janet's toast with a soft laugh and sighs out, "To childrearing, the only experiment _more_ worrying and consequential than time travel."

She snorts softly and levels her gaze at Janet, "You know, Manhattan's small enough I think Four Freedoms Plaza can count as being next door. I'm sure we've got some sort of dimensional doorway or transdimensional pizza oven in the basement that can arrange it if not anyhow."

She sips her champagne again and murmurs sotto voice, "And I am a _hilarious_ neighbour. Benjamin Grimm agrees my jokes are amazing."

And then Valeria's arriving fashionably late, and Susan's eyebrows are perking slightly... that 'I might need to check on the basement inventory after all' perk that Valeria's probably getting more and more used to... although when Reed arrives, Sue breaks into a wider smile. And figures Val must not have been up to anything _too_ drastic if both of them have managed to show up at roughly the same time.

And hey, if anything goes really wrong, she'll just blame it all on Johnny.

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia pops a mystery puff into her mouth, not really paying too much attention to what is what, the food from this catering team is always so tasty. "Oooh crabby!" Another of those finds its way into her mouth as the wasp girl in her beautiful red dress mingles her way through the crowd, only to be watching after Tim's back as he drags Lonnie off towards the newly arrived members of the Richards family.

"Val! Val's Dad! You made it!" Because that is just how Nadia addresses her friends parents. She grins though, there was definitely a time when it was Dr. Richards this and Dr. Richards that, but in the time since Valeria became one of her best friends she's managed to mellow out a bit even around the SCIENCE! luminary. She waves enthusiastically in their direction even as she snags a few more of those crab puffs, mingling her way through the crowds.

It may not be her first party like this, but for a girl who grew up in a cramped bunker, it is still a magical experience every time.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
Janet titters at Sue's comedic aside, and mercifully spares Natasha an overabundance of Feels. Hugging the redheaded assassin without losing an arm: that was a hard-earned reward. Janet's not going to abuse the privilege, and instead offers Natasha the quiet support of a friend simply being comfortably nearby without needing to intrude into her thoughts.

Besides, with Nadia charging into the fray to say hello to her friends, Janet gets a few seconds to thoughtfully observe the way Valeria wanders in fashionably late, grabs a platter of food, and starts devouring it. The parallels in behavior with her and Nadia are a little eerie, and when Janet spots Reed wandering in she nudges Sue with an elbow, keeping her voice low and lips hidden partially behind her champagne.

"I know Reed and Hank can't stand each other, but you've got to admit, those two girl /definitely/ take after their dads," she observes, and arches a brow at Sue as if daring her to challenge the assessment!

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Showing up late to the party is often regarded as being as poor in form. The reasons and justifications are legion, of course. Just pick one. Standing well back behind the curtain, Bobbi had just managed to slip into the venue to catch the last half of Nadia's speech to open the event. Her eyes darted around the attendees in view, as she waited for the initial formalities to end before slipping around the curtain and out into the gathering space.

Dressed for form and function, she wears a pantsuit of dark gray with a blue blouse showing under the jacket. Heels click quietly as she makes her way through the now milling crowd. A pause to pick up a flute of champagne before zeroing in on Nadia. A warm smile is offered, waiting as she greets the others gathered around her. As she lingers she picks up a bite from a passing server, munching contentedy as she people-watches.

Tim Drake has posed:
    "Oh my god," Tim can be heard groaning, possibly louder than he intended to, as he tightens his grip on Lonnie. "No. Absolutely not." Crab puffs certainly don't even rate on the scale for 'things Tim would be willing to course-correct for'. He doesn't even eat crab!

    Still with a grip on a certain anarchist's nicely tailored suit (that indeed Tim picked out and provided, sans-tie, because those are the noose of the bourgeiousie), Tim plants himself in the general orbit of the Richards that have arrived. "Hey Val," he offers first, then he straightens up a little bit. "Reed, Susan. Hello. It's been a while!"

    Given that the Waynes don't often make their way out of Gotham, that's primarily Tim's own fault. They're the bougie, old money equivalent of homebodies. "It's good to see so many people here to support Nadia's outreach efforts with GIRL." Though he does some side-eyeing of folks in the crowd far over thataway. "Or try to buy her tech off of her for their own nefarious purposes. But, well, that's how it is."

    Hey, at least Lex Luthor isn't here! Too busy being President, probably.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"Hey!" Valeria exclaims as Nadia finds her, grin flashing. "Did I miss the speech? I missed the speech, didn't I? I'm sorry. Was it great? I'm sure it was great. Want a pig in a blanket?" she offers, holding out the tray to Nadia in turn. See? It's totally fair to take the whole tray if you //also// share it.

"Nefarious purposes," she smirks at Tim. "Yeah, well. Anyone who tries to use these peoples' inventions for nefarious purposes has picked themselves some serious trouble. Hi," she adds to Lonnie with a quick smile. "I don't think we've met. I'm Val. Are you a friend of Tim's?"

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    After a small assortment of things, a very small assortment of coure involving the aforementioned crab puffs, is gathered onto a plate and a non-alcoholic cider drink is retrieved Helena makes her way through the crowd again. She nibbles lightly at her food, mostly just seeming to be looking for someone. Should she spot Janet, that is whom she will head for... so long as it is notin some secured locale where Helena does not belong.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli weaves her way through the crowd, deliberately ignoring how many /amazing/ people are here that she /really/ really wants to go talk to. She's a girl on a mission. Not yet a GIRL on a mission though, see.

    She's only a couple of inches shorter than Nadia, so it might not be /entirely/ strange when she finally pops out in front of the girl. "Nadia Pym-van Dyne?" Yes, of course. "It's such an honor to be here, hi, I'm Keli Quintela, you're amazing and your group is really great and I have something that I'd like to showcase but I just got into America like two weeks ago or something so I haven't had a chance to get over here and talk to you!" Did she say that all in one breath? Yes. Barely. And fluently, too, despite her Bolivian accent.

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards munches on the proffered crab puff. He nods to Nadia graciously, and looks about taking it all in, "You've put together quite the event Nadia, congratulations. Also congratulations on your first interstellar flight. He takes a small parcel from his pocket and hands it to Nadia, discreetly. Reed nods then turns to Val, "How did your experiment go? Did you vary the quantum frequencies in a non-linear reciprocating pattern?"

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie straightens up, all six foot two inches of him, and then he says, "...Well miss, you're half right." He looks around, and then puts his hand on Tim's shoulder, in a brief pat. "I'm Tim's boyfriend. He saw me loitering on a Gotham City street corner and he just *had* to have me. And, well, what Gotham's most eligible young bachelor wants, he gets, right?"
    He offers Val his most flattering smile. "But it really is nice to meet you, miss Richards. All this scientific talk's just above my level, ya know?"

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia accepts the small parcel from Reed, "Thank you Dr. Richards!" she beams and was just about to answer Val, when there is Bobbi! "Bobbi!" Bobbi gets a hug, as Nadia practically pounces her, red waspy dress and all. "You made it!" She positively beams, "I'm so happy you did! I mentioned you in my speech! How I was inspired by my favorite Lady Science Adventurer Hero!" She may not have used all of those exact words but the sentiment was there in her mind.

As she is releasing Bobbi from the inevitable hugs that go hand in hand with an excited Nadia seeing people she is very fond of, suddenly there is someone else in front of her! Someone in the form of a very enthusiastic Keli Quintela. Nadia is left blinking for a few moments by a motormouth introduction not unlike those that she herself has babbled off at some of the world's greatest scientists. The confusion perhaps stems from the fact she doesn't actually see herself in that light, not really.

"Oh um, hi!" She waves at Keli. "Keli Quintela." She repeats aloud like it sounds familiar somehow and then pulls out her phone, "Oh right! Keli Quintela, from La Paz Bolivia, police report about a runaway robot incident when you were ten." Stalker level intel is just read out very casually. "Scholarship to Happy Harbor, that's why your name is familiar!" Because it was already on her recruitment list of potential prospects. "Okay, you're in." Nadia agrees looking up at her again. Apparently it's that easy.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Though Tim is opening his mouth to reply to Val, and to reply honestly, at that, Lonnie cuts him off. And his explanation is much more... much less... it's something, alright, judging by the growing horror showing on Tim's face. "That isn't how we met!" he says, giving Lonnie's arm a frantic wiggle.

    "Please ignore him, he's the worst," Tim continues with a shake of his head, looking plaintively at Valeria. "I should have just left him with the crab puffs."

    And that's it, isn't it. The moment Tim realizes Lonnie is doing this on purpose. He gives a quick clear of his throat as he puts on his Wayne publicity persona and his smile is perfectly practiced. "Don't let him fool you with the arm candy act, he's much smarter than he wants anyone to know. I'm sure he'd love to hear about your experiments."

    Tim smiles at Lonnie, after, though that's only the lower half of his expression. The upper half is glaring daggers. He's brave enough to let go of Lonnie after that, and they separate, Tim inserting himself into Keli's introduction to Nadia. "You should definitely--" Nadia's already accepted her into GIRL. Okay. Well, that was easy, yes! Tim flashes a thumbs up and offers a quick, "Don't let me forget to tell you how I met her," to Nadia.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"I got a little distracted," Valeria admits to her father. "I went to get a power supply and I found one of the old submarines in storage so I started restoring it and then I took it out to the river to see if I could clean it up and ended up with //way// more debris than I anticipated, so I've kind of been troubleshooting a couple tons of litter. Uncle Ben thinks I might find some alien artifacts though, if I'm lucky." Also probably guns or bodies, but that's not party talk.

Tim's new //boyfriend// on the other hand is absolutly party talk.

"Awww!" she exclaims, grinning at Lonnie. "I love it. You're in, you can stay. Anyhow, people always say they don't get the science, but-" She pauses, looking between her parents before echoing something she's no doubt been told a thousand times. "Being smart isn't just about what you know, it's about being able to share it. All the knowledge in the world doesn't mean anything if you can't share it with anyone. Which," she grins over at Nadia, "Is the whole idea of this thing, right?"

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Practiced poise under pressure and that time invested with Steve to adapt to the changes reaction times since her own Serum Experience (tm) are the things that prevent a half full flute of champagne from flying through the air as she is mugged, albeit welcomed, by Nadia. She laughs and hugs back with her free arm, "I wouldn't have missed it for anything, Nadia." She nods, "Yes, I got here just as you were speaking. You did good. And I'm glad I provided some inspiration. But, really, look around you kiddo. You did this. Take satisfaction in your hard work. I'll gladly claim to have offered a spark but the work is all yours" she says with a genuine smile. "I'm proud and impressed. This is very good work. Go enjoy it!"

A parting hug for the moment and Bobbi steps back from the "spotlight" to let the GIRL of the hour enjoy the fruits of her labor. A sip from her glass and Bobbi is looking around for others to visit; and maybe one or two more of those canapes. They were quite tasty after all.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli... gapes at Nadia. /Gapes/. "Wh-what? Ayyy, that was /entirely/ overblown! Policia te estan charlando!" (The police are lying to you!) She frowns for a moment... and then blinks. "Oh. Wait. I'm... I'm in? Oh, thank you!" And she spontaneously hugs Nadia. Yeah, she's treating Nadia the /exact/ same way Nadia treats everyone else. It /has/ to be kind of weird.

    She grins brightly and looks around at the others nearby. That was way, way easier than she thought, and it leaves her a little dazed. The others nearby get a bright grin instead of hugs or further introduction. "Oh, this will be /exciting/!" She's been thinking about how to present the gauntlet without giving away that it's a Green Lantern thing. Secret identities, right? She's got a day or two. She'll figure it out.

    Then she beams at Val, congratulating Tim and Lonnie. "Aren't they cute? I think it's great. And anyway, there's all kinds of different kinds of intelligence... emotional, spatial, you know. Even if you can't build a robot." She peers between them. /Can/ one of them build robots? It's a good question.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    "It's true, that isn't how we met." Lonnie says, mournfully, "I just like telling the story that way, because if I told people about how I was working at your country-club and was on tennis ball-collecting duty that day it could cause a *scandal*-" He lets Tim fob him off, and then he rubs the back of his neck. "Oh, I'm going catch hell for that later," He says to himself, "But his laces need to be a little unstraitened now and again."
    "The truth is, I wanted to ask you, I'd been reading your theories about the X-Element, which offers energy output potential like nothing currently found on Earth. You also claimed this Element X would be *completely* stable and non-radioactive, so much so that it could be safely handled with bare hands... but how could that *be*?"

Reed Richards has posed:
Reed Richards smiles and chuckles, "Is that where He left it?" Reed gives Tim an offhand glance and moves back into the crowd. taking the time to inspect the exhibits.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
The backstage squad breaks up and heads out into the main area to mingle with people. Janet's not 'in' Nadia's circle per se-- but she's never more than a couple watchful long strides away from the Waspette either. Sue her, she's a little protective! The bold primary colors make them both stand out. A testament to Janet's handiwork in fashion, and also maybe making sure that certain lighting gels are in place that bring out primary colors.

Janet sure makes it *look* easy, bringing that level of glamour.

She beams at Bobbi and waves a hand at her in greeting. "Bobbi! You're late!" she accuses. "And you didn't come to me for a dress," she accuses. "It's like you're trying to break my heart on purpose or something." The rancor is absolutely lacking in real malice as she starts a drifting path that rolls in the blonde's direction. It brings her quite near Helena, though Janet doesn't seem to recognize the woman.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Bobbi Morse spins around on a heel, "Janet! Yes. Yes I was. But I was here by the time it really mattered!" That counts for something. Doesn't it? A helpless shrug of her shoulder as she is further implicated in crimes against the Van Dyne family, now reaching into fashion faux pas as well. "No. You're right, I didn't... part of me was afraid you'd put me into something like that.." nodding to Janet's stunning dress, ".. masterpiece and then I'd get a SHIED call and have to try and fight in it?" It's almost a believable excuse, right?

"You look fabulous. As always!" she says, trying to deflect. How about those sportsball teams, right?

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    "Miss van Dyne," Helena says after a moment of taking a deep breath. She can socialize when she has to. That doesn't make her LESS of an introvert, she has been saving her social batteries for this moment.
    "Hello there, I am Dr. Helena Shepherd, Geneticist and Biotech researcher. Your company's headhunter arranged for me to be here to... ah... learn the culture?"
    God almighty, she smiles. Actually, the smile looks good on her as it brightens her features and plays down the dark circles and gaunt cheeks that sleepless nights and missed meals have given her. Well, makeup would have helped too, or at least more makeup than the clearcoat on her lips.
    "It's a pleasure to meet such a luminary in person."

Janet van Dyne has posed:
Janet comes up short when Helena takes her shot. The fashionista's balance shifts to a centerline for just a moment, a little reflexive posture just in case Helena's got a knockout spray in her lipstick case or something.

It's happened before!

"Dr. Shepherd." Janet stares at the woman for a few seconds before it clicks. "/Right/, the bio division," she remembers. For a vain socialite, Janet's brain doesn't move in slow gear, it seems. "We're in the process of spinning that up. Don't call me a lumi-whatever though, that's the girls with the education. I'm just the gorgeous business genius who pays for everything," she says with a smirk that fails to sell itself as self-deprecating.

"Bobbi! Come here, meet Helena Shepherd. You know Dr. Morse, I'm sure," Janet tells Helena, and waves a hand at Bobbi to make with the introducies.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"Oh sure, robots are easy," Valeria assures Keli around a mouthful of tiny hotdog, waving her free hand. "A little building, a little programming, a few safeguards. Uncle Victor's got a whole legion of them. They're not bright, but they do what they're supposed to." Potential human rights violations: Also not party talk.

But then Lonnie's talking science and she perks up a bit, brows rising. "Boy, when you stop playing dumb you go all the way, don't you?" she laughs, smile crooked. "I'm still working on it," she admits. "But there are some other elements that when alloyed together may be able to create a sort of...anti-radiation field. I'm also looking into temporary bonds and better ways to store and temporarily deactivate it to make transport and handling safer."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Bobbi Morse had tried to slip away to avail herself of more passing snacks in the most casual way possible when she's pulled back into conversation with Janet and Dr. Shepherd. But she was able to grab something, of course, just as that happened. Called out just as she has stuffed her mouth with.. foie gras and puff pastry.. she can but smile and chew for an eternity followed by a bit of champagne to enable conversation. "Mmm, hello Dr Shephard. It's a pleasure to meet you."

Tim Drake has posed:
    Tim says "Oh, I definitely can't build a robot," with all the confidence of someone who, yes, can absolutely build a robot. Though he's mostly remaining on the outskirts of conversations, he is certainly paying attention, with his focus occasionally drifting back towards where Lonnie and Valeria are talking.

    Partially just to check that Lonnie isn't trying to convince Val that they met somewhere even more outrageous than on the street corner. Mostly to eavesdrop on another nerdy conversation, though.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli frowns at Val, and opens her mouth as if to protest regarding robots, then closes it. No need to get /too/ deep in the weeds about robotics and the difficulties of building them in a shack in the slums of La Paz. They got built, right? So neither here nor there.

    She listens raptly, instead, to the science talk, eyes very big, popping another puff pastry into her mouth partly so she'll be too busy chewing to say something silly like 'why is it always X? X-Element, X-gene'... her expression grows thoughtful at 'anti-radiation field.' Hunh.

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    "In my opinion, ma'am," responds Helena to Janet "There are many kinds of genius and business genius is certainly far from the bottom of that pile. Science needs funding, and visionaries who understand that fact." Looking to Bobbi as Janet indicates her, Helena gives a half-smile as she responds "A pleasure to meet you Dr. Morse. I believe we are... vaguely familiar with each other through some overlapping circles."

Lonnie Machin has posed:
"I'm really more interested in application than theory. Science that doesn't make people's lives better and doesn't move us toward a post-capitalist world is like any branch of Philosophy other than Ethics - it might be fun to argue it, but it's mostly just hot air and pontification." Lonnie muses, as he snags a crab puff from a nearby tray and then tosses it up in the air and catches it in his mouth.

"Also, I'm not a big fan of the educational emphasis of the proponents of STEM learning. What about all the other things that make life worth living? What about ethics? Or art and literature? These things are important, and everyone has a right to them, not just an elite few who can afford an education about them. At its heart, without tempering, STEM produces thinkers that're the equivalent of the machine that mechanically separates chicken from the bones. Efficient, but the results are brutalist. Technocratic. Libertarian. In a word: Gross."

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia blinks again for a moment at Keli's protests in Spanish before waving them off. "Don't worry we can probably make any record you might have disappear anyway. It's fine." And then she is being hugged. This is really quite surreal and somewhere in the back of her mind, part of her experiences the effect /she/ typically has on other people. But then she just hugs Keli back, because hugs! She will never turn down a hug.

She grins over at Val when her friend calls over to her. "I believe that is exactly what we do here, yes." And then she can barely contain her amusement at Tim and Lonnie's back and forth. "Oh, is /this/ what Bobbi meant by you're supposed to date your best friend?" She wonders aloud for everyone to hear.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"Don't ma'am me," Janet says, reflexively. She flashes a smile to temper the tone of it slightly and lifts a hand. "I hate that. It's Ms. van Dyne, or Janet, and honestly if we're outside of work circumstances you can drop the formality," she assures Helena. The praise about the difficulty of fashion and business expertise definitely earns her some higher estimation in Janet's eyes and it shows in a subtle change in her body language.

"I'm glad you came by though. This is--" she gestures. "Well, this is the future for Pym Industries. GIRL is a wholly funded subsidiary of our main corporate body," she explains. "Nadia runs the entire thing independently of the main campus. We just hand her a budget and she hands us back science. You might want to schedule some facetime with her," she suggests. "Our Bio division is going to be moving fairly quickly but if you've got any interest in mentoring, GIRL could be a solid option as well," she offers.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"Well, if you really want to explore the economic impacts of the pressure on STEM fields, you know it's because they're the ones that generate revenue," Valeria shrugs, finishing the last tiny hot dog on the tray and trading it back to one of the servers - who artfully spins to keep any champagne out of her underage fingertips.

"New inventions mean new things to spend money on, and STEM fields drive commerce in a way that liberal arts generally can't. On the flip side, they //also// offer opportunities to underserved portions of the population who don't get the opportunity to move up...unless they can "prove" that they're contributing something, which is a whole lot easier in STEM fields." Given the family she grew up in, it shouldn't be a surprise that she's looked at this from every angle.

"But that's why organizations like GIRL are so important. We're not profit-driven, we're progress-driven. It's a luxury, definitely. But it's also a responsibility to make sure that we're sharing our discoveries in a way that contributes to more than just the GDP." Somewhere Sue is probably bursting with pride.

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Bobbi Morse nods to Helena, "Yes, it seems we do have some similar veins of interest and experience. I'll confess I haven't kept up on anything recent from your team but I'd certainly be interested in hearing about it when time permits" she offers with a sincere smile.

And then Nadia is quoting her and sharing statements attributed to herself for all to hear. "Wait what, now?" she aims at Nadia. "Let's... just make that more: it helps if you get along with the one you choose to date, hmm? Best friends.. isn't always a silver bullet solution for love." A side glance toward Janet, "But maybe hold off all that for a year or two hmm? Don't give mom any new gray hairs to fret over just yet?" a faintly wicked grin is fired toward Janet.

Tim Drake has posed:
    In the passing moments, Tim has managed to snag two more of those cider-filled champagne flutes--yes, he confirms with a subtle sniff-test--and he elbows Keli gently in the arm before handing one over to her. "Congratulations to GIRL's newest member," he tells her, then taps his glass against hers.

    Surprise: it is just as tongue-cloyingly sweet as the first one was. Look, Tim is a caffeine addict, his palate just can't handle things that aren't coffee any more.

    "I don't know if that's, um, precisely what happened between us," Tim begins, glancing over his shoulder towards where Lonnie and Valeria are having a perfectly conversational discussion about science and ethics and did Lonnie just come out of the gate swinging in *support* of art?

    Tim makes the sort of face that says 'huh, wasn't expecting that' over top his champagne flute. "Compatibility is a tricky subject, and one I don't think can really be nailed down. It's," and here he pauses to smile in a mischievous sort of way, "Not a science. I don't believe in the concept of soul mates or true love or anything, just... people who try their best to build something with one another, I guess."

Helena Shepherd has posed:
     "Ah... " begins Helena, aware of herself before the fashionista as being under-dressed and with her hair not done in any way properly, the correction does seem to make her wince a little. "Sorry," she continues "I was raised in the south where 'yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am' is almost as much a religion as football and church on Sundays." This is why she doesn't do socialization. You can almost feel the faltering despite her previous confidence. "Hmm, mentoring could be of interest yes. I will not posture that I've done more than show other colleagues the ropes in the past, though." She shoots another smile to Bobbi, "Things have been complicated with my team. Part of why I am here now, but we can cover that later you and I."

Tim Drake has posed:
    As an afterthought, Tim adds, "And that can really be attributed to anything. Romantic relationships, friendships... what you're building with GIRL." He nods to Nadia.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli grins at Tim and clinks glasses with him, smiling brightly. "Thank you! And I'm glad you're making it work, you two.

    "Oh!" Keli says suddenly, turning to point at Lonnie. "Yes, exactly! I built my first robot to help my abuela around the house, because she was getting old, you know? Infirm, like. They wanted to move her to a hospital and I was like, nooo, this is her /home/ even if it's small and cramped. But..." She frowns. "Well, she never got the chance to really use it. But I was thinking, you know, it might be good to have to help other people in the situation. It just, uhh. Kind of..." She rubs at the back of her neck. Look, it's not /her/ fault the map of La Paz she downloaded confused the robot. Not /entirely/.

    "But you're right! I think. Ethics are important, in science." She bounces a little on her toes. "Helping people, you know? We should be helping people. And encouraging, umm, don't some people say 'STEAM' now? To put art in? Buuuut also, education /is/ important, it just should be available to /everyone/." It's a subject near and dear to her heart, of course.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
"Which brings us back full-circle to the toxicity of this economic system, and how we should be working to dismantle it completely. 'Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.'" Lonnie raises his eyebrows. "Which technology will enable us to do, but there are plenty of people who have no intention of doing that, because it would negate their social advantage. When everyone is a billionaire, then nobody is." Lonnie shrugs, once.

"But then again, what do I know? I'm the one who fell into dating the guy who's almost certainly going to inherit the business side of the Wayne fortune, so I've already compromised on that front. The things we do for love, right?"

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"Grey hair--!" Sorry, Helena. Bobbi's sidebar has Janet's eyes flying wide open. She's halfway to touching her short, curly hair when she catches the impudent grin from the leggy blonde agent.

"Oh you catty /bitch/, I hate your face," she hisses, and swats her free hand fruitlessly at a quickly-moving Bobbi with little real success. "Yeah, well, your ass looks fat in those pants," she adds, and sticks her tongue out just to drive home the childish repartee.

Janet looks back at Helena. "Sorry. Where were we? Oh, right, the job thing. Listen, I trust my hiring managers, so once they give the green light and we get you in the system, call my secretary and we'll get a meeting on the books. I pay good bounties for anything that improves profitability."

Valeria Richards has posed:
"That's not a failure, that's a brilliant long-term strategy in class warfare," Valeria winks at Lonnie. "Infiltrate the enemy." Like the Richardses don't make top ten lists and her godfather isn't a dictator. That just means she knows all about infiltrating the enemy!

"Tim, your boyfriend's great," she grants her stamp of approval once more.

She nods to Keli. "I've heard STEAM too. Which, I mean, cool. Arts are important too. But once you add arts, you've got science and the arts so...what's left? Aren't we just calling it "learning" at that point?"

Nadia Pym-van Dyne has posed:
Nadia watches Keli turn to join Lonnie and Val's conversation. This is good. New members always make her happy. And Bobbi is here, that makes her happy, too. And Janet, and Nat, and Sue, the Mom Squad, and all the GIRL members. It is more than she really could have dreamed of two years ago when she used reverse engineered Pym Particles to escape the Red Room and all of it just fills the former bunker girl with happiness.

She is about to join in the conversation about the ethics of STEM and the place of the arts in things, heck the arts or worth studying if only for those times when Alice in Wonderland suddenly starts becoming real and invading Earth, but then something on her wrist starts blinking with an ominous red light, at least it is ominous for those who know what it means, to most it might just be part of Nadia's red ensemble.

"Ummm, I will be right back, I need to go check on something." She says before making eye contact with Val and some strange hand signals and moving towards a side entrance. "I will be /right/ back! Just an experiment to check on, SCIENCE! waits for no one, everything is fine! Right back before you even miss me!"

Helena Shepherd has posed:
    "Yes ma..." begins Helena, before backtracking "Ms. van Dyne." She clears her throat, "I can hope to meet with you again soon then." She can't help but to look where Janet indicates on Bobbi when the van Dyne Matriarch mentions Bobbi might have a fat ass. But she keeps it to a very quick glance. It isn't as though she feels like she holds a candle to any woman in the room to begin with. She's not jealous. Nope. Really.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    "/Sports/," Keli says firmly to Val. "Football is life, you know." She thinks about it for a minute. "Umm... cooking? That's important. Oh, uhh... languages! Social things, like small talk at parties that isn't about science." She grins. "This is my first big party, actually. Do they always have such good food?"

    She pops a shrimp puff into her mouth and adds to Lonnie, "You have a zine or something, right? How do I sign up? I like /everything/ you're saying about everything." Oh dear.

Lonnie Machin has posed:
    Lonnie raises his eyebrows, and then says, "I'm actually really enjoying this conversation. Even though, since I don't come to New York very often, I'm engaging in a Quid Pro Quo with my hermit boyfriend - I come here, and we get to spend the rest of the night at Saint Vitus-" He raises his eyebrows at Keli, and then says, "Really - well, just give me your address, and I'll send you a copy- I suppose I could go all-digital but there really is nothing like a print Zine-"
    He looks over where Tim is. "I haven't told him we're going to Saint Vitus yet. But we absolutely are. You should all come, we'll have an afterparty."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Bobbi Morse nods to Helena, "I look forward to it, Dr. Shephard" she confirms with a smile. It fades as Janet decides to go full nuclear in retaliation over vanity jokes. She just smiles sweetly and winks at Janet as she reaches back to pat her ass, "Well you know what they say Janet. More cushion for the pushin'..." A wicked wink then she attempts to hide a laugh behind a sip from her drink. Her eyes still show a wicked glint. Then a moment where she side glances in an attempt to make sure none of the young'uns are actively listening. Not that she is entirely concerned. Still.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"Languages should count in the arts," Valeria muses to Keli. "They call it the language arts, right? Cooking too, that's definitely an art. I've seen the effects of cooking as a science. They're...not great." She pauses, haunted by the memory of various experiments that have escaped from the fridge at the Richards residence.

"Sports though. That one's for sure a different category." She pauses, brows rising at a sudden thought that has her looking to Tim before she stops herself and instead turns back to Lonnie.

"I haven't been to Gotham in a minute, I could do an afterparty," she grins.

Tim Drake has posed:
    "I appreciate the original focus on STEM being a push to get women and minorities into fields that they have historically been kept from, but it does end up creating division. Liberal arts contribute to society in different ways than the STEM fields but to try and argue that one is more important than the other is neglecting the fact that reality is much more... holistic." When Valeria shares her approval again of Lonnie, Tim can only duck his head and smile at her. Is he blushing? Oh he's totally blushing.

    He watches Nadia go with vague interest, because he's surpressing the sort of conspiratorial look that he'd share otherwise. Yes, definitely just science that she's rushing off to check on.

    Tim glances over. "We're not going to--." But then he pauses, scrunches his eyes shut, and sighs. "Okay, fine. Only for a couple of hours, though! And we're staying the night at the penthouse on the upper east side, I'm not driving us back to Jersey!" he calls out.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    "But /after-party/, Tim! I've never been to an after-party, that sounds pintudo." Keli grins and nods firmly to Lonnie. "Physical copy, uhhh..." She gives the address of a dorm at Happy Harbor, through their mail intake. Well, that'll be interesting for staff. They've probably seen weirder, though.

    "Okay, okay, but seriously, what is X-Element and are you showing it off at the Expo?"

Helena Shepherd has posed:
     Pushing her glasses up on the bridge of her nose, Helena's lenses are opaqued by the light again hiding her eyes. She takes the interractions between Janet and Bobbi, as well as the words spoken, as a clear dismissal and sort of fades back into the party crowd. She has been keeping half an ear on the conversation the younger party-goers are having but she does not approach them either, being beyond their age range for how well she is known here. It is not long before she is making her way towards the exit.

Janet van Dyne has posed:
"Bobbi Morse, you are a /terrible/ influence on the next generation. Don't ever change," Janet tells her friend with a fond amusement. "And I'm in the mood for something other than champagne," she announces. She moves over to the circle of the young superheroes and their discussion about saving the world, and effortlessly inserts herself into the circle's edge.

"Val, you and Tim go make sure that Nadia's not messing with that black hole generator," she tells them, and then focuses on Keli. "Y amiga-- pareces responsable," she observes. "Anda tu estos," she instructs her in a fast, Bronx-accented Spanish. "Asegurate de que Valerie no AYUDE a Nadia con eso." She jabs a thumb in the direction of the GIRL team of mad scientists!

"Bobbi, Sue, let's go find Natasha before she fades into the mist," she suggests. "I've got a parental duty to get you reprobates away from the kids at this point so we can have some actual grown-up fun."

Bobbi Morse has posed:
Bobbi Morse looks innocently at Janet, "I learned from the best, after all." Then she looks at her flute, "Mmm.. yes. this does need more Jameson to be suitable, I agree. But it was a nice aperitif, certainly..." She sets the now empty flute on a passing tray. Oh, there are still more food trays! She aquires something with bacon and water chestnuts and entirely too much barbecue sauce, as it should be, and pops it in her mouth before glancing back to Janet. "There is a nice little watering hole just around the corner. Unless you're wanting to wake up and watch our evening all over again on the morning news..." she shrugs. That wouldn't be so bad, either.

Valeria Richards has posed:
"I heard that," Valeria smirks at Janet, tapping an earring. Of course the Fantastic Four have translation tech, how else do you talk to aliens? "I should probably go check though, either way. I'll give you the tour," she offers Keli, already starting after Nadia.

"Lonnie, great to meet you! Tim, make sure you both get home safe. Or...you know. Stay in New York where it's actually safe until daylight when Gotham is less Gotham," she teases.

Keli Quintela has posed:
    Keli blink-blinks at Janet but then salutes her. "Si, senora!" Her expression is troubled, though. How's /she/ going to stop any of these other science types from getting into trouble? She wants to be in trouble herself usually! Oh dear.

    Her expression brightens at Val. "Oh, a tour! Yes, I'd love a tour! Gracias!" She looks at Lonnie and Tim. "I'll find you for the afterparty!" How? Probably the gauntlet that she's probably got stashed somewhere.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Apparently they're all getting dragged into whatever mess Nadia got called off to handle? If only Tim weren't in this very expensive suit that is just slightly too tailored. World-ending black hole machines sounds like something that Tim would want a full range of movement to handle.

    He glances over Keli's head towards Lonnie, eyebrows raising, and then he turns to Janet. "This is GIRL's show, not, uh, BOY's." Which doesn't exist! Then he sidesteps GIRL's newest member to grab hold of Lonnie's hand. "Let's go score you some more of those crab puffs before we head out for the afterparty," he says, with a quick nod to Valeria and Keli to confirm the offer being extended to them.

    And then they're off to eat catered food until either Nadia destroys the universe and/or Valeria and Keli stop her.